It's official: skinny is out and strong is in. The latest health and fitness trend is one that is far less focused on aesthetics than previous ones. It's all about being fit and healthy, and to do with how you feel inside. Of course, if one of the side effects is that you LOOK fit and healthy too, even better! But more and more women than ever are switching up their gym routine to focus on gaining muscle, rather than losing fat.

The idea that lifting weights and such causes women to look too masculine is slowly fading out of society, and more of us than ever are enjoying feeling our bodies exceed our previous expectations. If you're ready for a new fitness challenge, read on to find out how you can become #strongnotskinny.

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Lifting weights

It will come as no surprise that the best way to build muscle is by lifting weights. Lifting weights can cause minor damage to the muscles in our bodies. This damage is not minor as you won't really notice it, you will probably just ache a little bit the day after your session. But after the muscles have been exercised by lifting weights, our bodies repair them via a cellular process which involves creating new muscle protein. It is this process that causes the muscles to grow and to become more powerful. If you are completely new to working with weights, you'll want to start small and then build yourself up. Going for weights that are too heavy initially can cause serious damage to your body that can render it beyond repair. So, always be careful when choosing your starting weight. Weight work can involve anything, from working on gym machines to free weights. Plus, certain weight exercises can help you to build your curves too - so get squatting with that barbell!

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A little bit of cardio

Generally speaking, there is no point in lifting loads of heavy weights if you're not going to do at least a little bit of cardio too. Weightlifting can be occasionally cardiovascular, but if you want to see real results, you are best mixing the two as separate exercises. In order to see the muscle that builds up, you'll need to shed any excess fat that's hiding it - otherwise, you could end up appearing bulky. Choose a fun cardiovascular activity to do a couple of times a week alongside any weight work. Attending a Zumba dance class for fitness and workout is a great way to get your cardio in whilst having a laugh with your friends.

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Eating a high protein diet

The importance of protein in our diets has been widely publicised over the last couple of years, and there are more ways to include it now than ever. If you're only lifting a couple of times a week, there's no need to go overboard. But you will need to slightly alter your current diet to match your new fitness regime, in order to see the best results possible. There are plenty of easy ways to include protein in your diet. The most common way is to eat eggs for breakfast and chicken for dinner. But, there are also other vegetarian ways to get your protein fix, such as eating specific vegetables, nuts and beans.